'Learn lessons from our son's death'

A BEREAVED family last night called for “lessons to be learned” after a suicidal Suffolk man was found hanged.Christopher Schonbeck, of Finbars Walk, Ipswich, used a belt to commit suicide at the town's St Clements Hospital on May 14 last year.

A BEREAVED family last night called for “lessons to be learned” after a suicidal Suffolk man was found hanged.

Christopher Schonbeck, of Finbars Walk, Ipswich, used a belt to commit suicide at the town's St Clements Hospital on May 14 last year.

The inquest into his death, held at Ipswich Police Station yesterday, heard the 40-year-old had asked a staff nurse to kill him just hours before he took his own life.

During the hearing, his family questioned why he had been left in possession of a belt at a time when he had suicidal tendencies.


You may also want to watch:


Robert Nesbit, director of the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, admitted “it would have been better” if it had been taken away.

But he said lessons had been learned since the tragedy and changes in the way patients were monitored had been introduced.

Most Read

St Clement's staff nurse Andrew Palmer told the inquest he had spoken to Mr Schonbeck on the night before his death and said he appeared agitated.

At one time he had asked the nurse to kill him, but Mr Palmer had told him that was not possible and talked to him about his concerns.

Mr Schonbeck was observed every 15 minutes by staff at the hospital to make sure he was all right in his room.

At 6.15am on May 14, he was seen by two members of staff who saw him in his bed, apparently asleep.

Five minutes later Mr Palmer checked through the window on the door and saw him hanging from a belt which had been attached to the window.

He called a colleague to hold Mr Schonbeck as he cut him down and then the two of them attempted to revive him.

Staff on the ward attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tried to restart his heart until paramedics arrived shortly before 7am.

Further attempts continued in the ambulance and at Ipswich Hospital, but Mr Schonbeck's death was confirmed at 7.30am.

Dr Peter Dean, Greater Suffolk Coroner, recorded a verdict of suicide “while the balance of his mind was disturbed”.

In a statement released after the hearing, Mr Schonbeck's parents and sister said: “This inquest has come almost ten months after Christopher's death. Those months have been a particularly anxious and stressful period for us.

“We have never been intent on 'blame and shame'. The only compensation we have ever sought is that lessons will be learned from the failings which occurred in the care of Christopher and prevent others experiencing the same distress we have gone through.

“We now wish to close a long chapter of sorrow in our lives and, from now on, live with the happier memories we have of Christopher.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus